Minnesota Part 5: Midwest moderation, a blessing and a curse.

This is from a note I wrote on facebook in October 2010.  I wanted it to be part of my blog.  Sorry if this is a repeat for you!

The Midwest has proven to be an unusually nice place to raise a family.  Everything here is pretty moderate (well, except the weather).  Tempers are tame, foul language is kept at bay, the food isn’t spicy, housing is pretty affordable, everyone is generally nice.  But good grief if that doesn’t bore this former east coaster to tears sometimes.

We have, since we moved, here made it a practice to leave the state once a year to keep ourselves sane and remind ourselves that we don’t actually live in Pleasantville.  That there is the real world out there with passionate people willing to speak their minds and tell you how it is. Yes, I actually miss that.   Sometimes life here in the burbs of Minneapolis feels a little like the Truman show.

I got honked at the other day.  It startled me really badly.  No one ever honks their horns.  My heart started racing and I was mad.  I felt ALIVE!  I know it sounds funny, but really, you can’t know unless you have lived it.  Nice isn’t always better.

The kids are becoming fully indoctrinated to the midwest way of life and to the Minnesota nice.  Getting them to speak their minds is a losing battle.  I have stopped trying to fight it.  It’s my own fault.  I moved them here.  I can’t hope to raise straight-forward, vivacious Jersey girls and boy 1,200 miles from the ocean, from New York and from all things “Eye-talian”.  No, if we stay here my kids will grow up nice, mild-tempered Scandinavians (except for their brown hair, though Hannah even has that right) who don’t hug each other when they meet, and think going to the cabin is the best thing this side of heaven.  And I guess that is good, though it feels a bit like a resignation.  There is no risk in it.  Growing up in Minnesota, there is a really good chance you’ll turn out right and decent, though probably not dynamic.  And maybe that is my sorrow.  I kinda want my kids to be effervescent dynamos who say what they mean, mean what they say, and go after what they want.  Or at least I want them to be a part of a culture that teaches them to believe that sometimes it’s ok to do so.


6 thoughts on “Minnesota Part 5: Midwest moderation, a blessing and a curse.”

  1. See, I am keeping tabs on you!

    Okay, my husband does say EYEtalian, but it bugs the hell out of me (see, I can curse!). And I think my kids grew up right and decent-we need more decent people in the world right now.

    But, we don’t go to the cabin every summer-we don’t have a cabin; we do hug each other each time we meet and leave each other; most of our family does have brown hair, although my two boys started out as towheads.

    Hang on, things here are not as bad as they may seem to you now.

  2. LOL! But do you hug your friends when you come and when you go? Being eye-talian, or from an eye-talian influenced culture, it’s very much a warm, welcoming, hugging, sit and eat and stay and don’t call before you come kind of place. I miss that!

    1. Okay, so it is maybe more of an eye-talian vs. other cultural thing? Not necessarily Minnesotan? We do hug friends-but no air kisses. Too fake. My father loved the come without calling to his cousins (all Scaninavian), but it drove my mother (Irish and English) crazy. I think you would find a very similar situation in any culture or community which is stable-where people don’t move around a lot.
      Bye! Hug! 🙂

  3. From my mom-in-law who grew up in Dayton, Ohio-

    “Good morning, I agree with the blog. Don’t know how to do it on the site, anyway. I was exactly the same growing up in Ohio. Then, I came to Jersey and my world opened up. I believe my personality developed beyond what it could have in my hometown. I did love my hometown, still do. Anyway, still enjoying the blogs. have a super day. love you”

  4. You’re a Jersey girl? Me too! Living in Ohio now I’ve been here for… yikes! … 24 years or so. Southern Ohio for 13 years and now northeastern Ohio for the past 11. That’s longer than I lived in NJ, now that I think about it. I grew up there and moved away and have lived all over the place — South Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, West Virginia, and even London, England for a summer — until we settled in Ohio.

    I know what you mean about midwestern Nice. One thing I like about the area we’re in now is we can go to Cleveland or Akron or Pittsburgh or even make the trek to Philadelphia (that’s about 6-7 hours of drive time), and at least experience some city life.

    They do a lot hugging here, too. With friends, family, etc. So I should probably leave you a hug.

    *Hugs* 😀

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